Last night, I headed over to the local AIGA meeting to hear one designer talk to other designers (mostly; there were a few UX/IA types there) about strategy and wireframing for websites. Brad Haynes is Creative Director at Paramore/Redd just up the road in Nashville.
I felt a lot better about what I was going to hear when one of the first points he made was “look at the analytics.” Then he actually mentioned putting a survey on a client’s website to elicit feedback from users.
Whoa! Someone’s actually seeking out data.
Brad went on to point out the P/R approach to websites:
I appreciated the effort they make to discipline the web design process. The more you think on the front end, the less you have to clean up on the back end.
The same can be said for the approach to web content. There is a discipline involved.
I would say content needs to be researched, strategized, mapped, and wireframed along with the design. You can put boxes and titles/captions on a web page design, but you need to have a good idea of what each box will hold. And the priority of that content on individual pages.
In fact, it’s hard to design the box until you know how much content you have. If content is king, as so many say, it deserves to be more than an afterthought for design.